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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Arrest warrant issued for father who vanished after infant's fentanyl death

1 month 3 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, December 08 2022 Dec 8, 2022 December 08, 2022 10:55 AM December 08, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The father of a 1-year-old who died from a fentanyl overdose in late October has reportedly had a warrant issued for his arrest for over a month and has not been located.

Charles Lee, the father of J'ahrei Paul, has had a warrant issued for his arrest for over a month. According to arrest documents, the warrant was signed Nov. 4 and called for Lee's arrest on one charge each of negligent homicide and second-degree cruelty to juveniles. 

"During the course of the investigation, an autopsy was conducted we learned the baby died from fentanyl," L'Jean McKneely with Baton Rouge Police said. "We learned the dad, Charles Lee had something to do with it. We exhausted all resources trying to make contact with him and issued an arrest warrant for him."

Ja'Mira Paul, the boy's mother, was jailed in Texas at the time of her child's death and tells WBRZ her son was in the care of his father, Charles Lee. She says Lee called a family member after J'ahrei fell ill on Halloween, and the infant's grandmother had someone drive to Lee's apartment to pick up the child and take him to a hospital.

After J'ahrei was dropped off at the hospital, family claims Lee left Ja'Mira's other two children with their aunt and then disappeared.

"We don't believe he is in this area," McKneely said. "We believe he might have left this area so our attempts are to make contact with him with investigative measures reaching out to all law enforcement throughout the country by putting his warrant out in a national database."

Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Walters stepped down in the aftermath of J'ahrei's death. Her number two, Rhenda Hodnett who was over child welfare at the agency also resigned.

J'ahrei's was the second overdose death of a child under the agency's watch in six months. 

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